This home was originally designed in 1988 when The Rural Building Company first started out in Perth. Its success has been exceptional and is due in part to Its simple lines and functionality – features that have made it a home for so many people desiring a true Australian homestead. Winner of the HIA Golden Key Award in the South West in 2001 – testimony to its outstanding design – perhaps the most rewarding ‘thing’ about this home is the number of people now enjoying their lives in the Durack who have passed comment back to us on what a great house it is to live in.
For the 2005 Durack, we only modified a few component parts, basically driven from what our customers had told us. This Durack is a little bit larger to accommodate some changes to the ensuite and dressing area, and the inclusion of some more space in the free-form living area. The kitchen was also modified.
The biggest change was the exclusion of the exposed beams, such a strong feature in the previous Durack. Because of the Building Code of Australia Energy Provisions, we can no longer achieve the insulation requirements overexposed rafters without increasing costs substantially.
Core elements of the design were based on feedback from people wanting this type of home on a larger rural lot. First of all the home is split into two living zones: the children’s and the adults. Both very separate, but tied together by the large free-form living space in the middle of the home. This time we’ve converted the lounge to a home theatre to acknowledge where we are moving with technology – the only modification away from a farmhouse concept. The home office can actually be used externally if one wishes to put an outside door to the room, enabling it to be used as a true farm office. The laundry and toilet were set up to allow access from outside without having to walk through any part of the home. The laundry also serves as a mud room, somewhere to take your boots off and get into the shower, again, without traversing through the building.
The core of the home is the main free-form living area, now a feature in all Rural Building Company designs. This space is divided by a large two-way Jetmaster double-sided fire with a brushed stainless steel flue. The high vaulted ceiling has been lined with Hardie’s Primeline Chamfered weatherboards and provides a feeling of space and volume while tying the area together. The foyer provides clever access into the home and screens the kitchen from view with the cleverly roofed fridge and appliance cupboard, another statement in this home. Of course, it wouldn’t be a farmhouse without a big walk in pantry, and this time we’ve taken kitchen design to a different level after involving ourselves with a celebrity chef. The design elements allow the cook to be part of the home and face the family and guests rather than turning one’s back. And, as always, we provide the very best in appliances and appointments.
We have used Corian on the bench tops, large Clarke Epure underslung sinks that will wash a decent sized pot, and the oven is a fully automatic Westinghouse with separate grill and a five burner hotplate with a centre grill plate and wok burner, great for that farmhouse casserole. The exhaust fan is built into the upstand in front of the hot plate and exhausts straight outside. There is also provision for a dishwasher and microwave, and the cupboards feature a corrugated metal surface to the front as well large pot drawers.
The children’s wing has bedrooms large enough for a queen sized beds and all the electronic equipment that today’s children seem to have to lie around. Bedroom 4 could easily be a guest room. The activity area could also double up as another TV viewing space, a place for the computers or just somewhere for their toys if they are younger children.
The bedrooms are located around the bathroom and laundry, both of which are fitted out with first class appointments, including vitreous china basins, cisterns and shrouded pans. The bath is an oval Caroma Medina and there is ample storage in the vanity cupboards. The oversized shower is enclosed by a semi-frameless shower screen while the laundry has a stainless steel inset trough built into the large cupboard.
The adult wing is self-contained and very private. Access can be gained to this area from the outside. The glazed double doors to the home theatre lead onto private double doors to the master suite. In keeping with the rest of the home, the ensuite, master suite and dressing are all very generously sized. The appointments are similar to the other wet area: porcelain basins, cistern and shrouded toilet, and frameless showers screens to the oversized shower. All our accessories are quality chrome fittings throughout and match in with the lever door handles on Stamford doors.
In keeping with our environmental concerns, we have used a gas boosted Solar Edwards hot water system – the most fuel efficient and ideal to run on gas bottles. There are two E-Vents to exhaust the hot air out of the roof space, AAA-rated plumbing and, of course, the home is insulated. The rear of the home faces true north; the reason there is no verandah on this side. We have illustrated with a lightweight reverse pitch pergola what can be done, inexpensively, to control winter and summer sun off the living spaces.
We believe this home epitomises what a homestead house should be; a fitting tribute to its namesake, the famous Western Australian pioneering family, the Duracks.
Winner: 2000 Golden Key Award for the South West Display Home of the Year.